Labor Struggle in the Post Office: From Selective Lobbying to Collective Bargaining

By John Walsh; Garth Mangum | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
THE REGIME SETTLES IN

With its first collective bargaining and external political challenges behind it, the Biller administration could now turn to overcoming a nascent internal opposition, strengthening its negotiating practices, and establishing an agenda of long-term objectives. As 1982 approached, in addition to the regular union agenda, preparations had to be made for the 6th Biennial Convention in Miami and, following that, for the 1983 elections. Regarding the latter, an organized opposition to the "Real Team," the sobriquet of the Biller slate, began to emerge. At the national level, the opposition was led by Biller's erstwhile running mate, John Richards, and included Michael Zullo, Director of Research and Education, Ben Zemsky, Director of Organization, and Kenneth Leiner, Director, Mail Handler Division. In the field, the center of opposition was the TRINE Council, a combination of the APWU-Tri State and Regional Councils, consisting of twelve eastern state organizations and four southern locals. The slate of candidates that would oppose the Real Team in 1983 was pretty much a creation of the TRINE Council.


The 1982 Convention

The Biller administration unveiled an eighteen-minute multimedia show, developed by the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency, that included thirty-second television commercials extolling the virtues of postal workers. The theme of the commercials was "We want to be letter perfect for you." Dan Driscoll describes the reaction of the delegates:

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